Property tycoon Frank Buyanga on Tuesday took to social media to speak on his long battle with his ex-girlfriend Chantelle Muteswa over custody of their five-year-old son.
Buyanga, who is also the founder of the African Medallion Group (AMG), took to his Facebook account where he alleged that his son suffered massive physical abuse at the hands Chantelle’s mother last year, a matter which was reported at Highlands Police Station in May last year.
The outburst comes after one of Buyanga’s AMG directors based in Dubai was interrogated by the authorities seeking clarification over recent media reports alleging that he had kidnapped his son at gunpoint in Harare.
This forced the property mogul to apologise to UAE authorities and other people that he works with.
“I write to you (UAE authorities) seeking to provide clarity on a matter that has found its way in the public domain and may have caused confusion and raised questions for those I work with and am linked to professionally and personally. This is, in no way intended to solicit sympathy but simply explain the sequence of events that may have affected the business partners, directors, employers and volunteers connected to our establishment/s. Whilst I live my life the way I see fit, I must be conscious of those that co-exist within my structures. They too have families, communities and a social standing to protect.
“A few days ago, I was speaking to a Director representing our UAE based entity who informed me that they were subjected to unsettling interrogation. This was apparently as a result of media headlines allegedly related to the ‘gunpoint kidnapping of my son’ which is utter nonsense…… After explaining the circumstance/s surrounding the incident and supplying several court documents and a court verdict pertaining to the matter, they were subsequently cleared. Their name and my company name appear to be linked in random internet searches. This incident involving my son was also the subject of discussion and led to scrutiny with my bankers in South Africa and Mauritius. Fortunately my banker provided superiors and legal teams with a full dossier of the matter,” he explained.
He added that after careful consideration he had decided to give an account of the circumstances that led to his “intensive effort to secure full custody of his son”.
Buyanga said on May 19 2019, he had grown used to his regular fortnightly weekends with his son.
“I would in most cases travel to Harare every two weeks to spend time with him and drop him off at his mother’s house (my ex-girlfriend) on Sundays before 1800 hours. It occurred to me that my son seemed upset and tearful when it (was) time to go back to his mother’s house. Without fully appreciating the magnitude of my son’s behaviour, I would not tell him when it was time to go home after our weekends together. To my surprise, when we approached his mother’s residence he would begin to cry hysterically. It wasn’t until much later that my son revealed to me, my aides and his caregiver that he was being abused, physically.
“I shared this information with my lawyer who advised me that reporting the matter to police and child protection services would yield no results as the report would be met with skepticism. However, on my regular visit leading to the 19th of May, I noticed deep scarring on my son’s face. Upon inquiry, he told me that he had been beaten by his grandmother,” he said.
Buyanga added, “I immediately drove to my lawyers with my son, where my son reiterated and explained how he had sustained the bruises on his face. A female child specialist (policewoman) was invited to interview him, and once again he narrated his ordeal. We were also asked to get a certified medical report from a state hospital. After hours of waiting, we were attended to at Parirenyatwa State Hospital and a report was filed at Highlands Police station. As per court order directive at the time and with no other option or choice I took my son back to his mother’s house.”
He said out of fear, his son begged him not to tell anyone that he had complained about the beating he was subjected to by his grandmother.
“I could only assure him that I would get the best legal team in order to get full custody of him. It wasn’t until after the police and medical report was filed, that I become frustrated by the manner in which the matter was being handled in providing legal recourse.
“The courts granted me custody before increased interference from political bigwigs derailed the course of justice. It was in my child’s best interest to do what was in my power to recover and keep my child safe from physical or psychological harm of any kind. Based on past experiences, I am convinced that I would not have gotten a fair and unbiased chance to be heard in the case involving my son, and as any concerned parent would have done, I made the decision to remove my son from a murky and possibly unconducive environment, while a lasting solution was considered and sort from both parties. My international lawyers have since written to my son’s maternal family but sadly they have not responded. I have always believed and worked towards a civil harmonious relationship with my son’s mother as we co-parent to raise our son, but I could not fathom the fact that he was being mistreated or abused and now being used as a pawn,” he said.
Buyanga said nothing he did was illegal, but the police failed to protect his rights as a parent.
“Let me take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience my personal matters may have caused those I work with, across the board. Your understanding and patience with me is greatly appreciated. It is my hope that we stride past trials and tribulations with mutual respect, vigilance and fortitude,” he said.
Buyanga also posted on his Facebook page, the reports he made to the police and medical records for his son, among other relevant documents pertaining to this matter.